Explore how to use your own life experiences to inspire your writing and to create autobiographical fiction.

There are no available registration dates at this time.

Note: This Class will be held online using the Zoom platform.
We will meet weekly for 6 consecutive Mondays. June 29- August 3rd

You don’t need to know whether you want to write fiction or memoir; in fact, you can write a blend of the two and still end up with engaging, lively, and publishable writing. Explore how to use your own life experiences to inspire your writing and to create autobiographical fiction. How faithful is memory? How much of your writing can you embellish and still classify as memoir? Can fictional characters be based on real people? Explore these questions with readings from both fiction and memoir. Workshop your writing and discuss when to borrow from real life, and when to use your imagination.

We’ll start with an online meeting from noon – 2:30pm EST every Monday for 6 weeks, where we’ll get to know each other a little, and where we’ll do warm-up exercises and critique the first student piece of writing (which will be sent to all ahead of time). The core of the course will be the critique of student writing: each student will send in one (or two, depending on class size) stories, chapters or selections for group critique, and, we’ll have time for a lively discussion of the work submitted. The instructor will also offer published work for group discussion, and mini-lectures on the points raised by the writing. We’ll also always have time for writing exercises (it’s optional whether you want to read these, or work on them more and submit for later.)  Each student gets a ½ hour private discussion with the instructor at the beginning and end of the course, that they will schedule with her individually.

We’ll also meet as a group once a week at a time convenient for everyone, for 2 ½ hours, which will include breaks for the writing exercises.

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Instructor: Sarah Van Arsdale

Sarah Van Arsdale’s fifth book, The Catamount, a narrative poem with her watercolor illustrations, was published by Nomadic Press in May 2020. She is the author of four books of fiction: Toward Amnesia, Grand Isle, In Case of Emergency, Break Glass, and Blue, which won the 2002 Peter Taylor Prize for the novel. Her poetry and essays have been widely published in literary magazines. She also teaches in the low-residency MFA program at Antioch University. She holds an MFA in creative writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts.